Over the last two weeks, 450+ Good News Veg readers, Beantown Kitchen enthusiasts, friends and family, participated in The 14-Day Greener Plate Challenge’s maiden voyage. Every day, Challengers woke up to an email on topics ranging from how to calculate your environmental FoodPrint, how to choose sustainable seafood, and the top-rated dairy-free ice creams. Congratulations to all of the Challenger Graduates!

Greener Plate Challenge Team hiking outdoors

GalsGoGreen members (left to right): Julie, Dinny, Jenny


Many Challengers formed teams — and as promised, I entered them into a lottery and chose a winner.

The Prize: $500 donation to the environmental NGO of their choice.

The Winners: GalsGoGreen, a group of 8 friends, spanning two countries (U.S. and Canada) and five states (MA, CO, CA, OR, ID). GalsGoGreen are all omnivores (like most Challenge participants) — except their Captain Dinny, who has led a “mostly” plant-based life for a decade. I caught up with Dinny to learn more about her plant-based journey, and the effect The Challenge had on GalsGoGreen.


Meet Dinny and GalsGoGreen:

How long have you been plant-based? Why the change?

Until about ten years ago, I was a super-carnivore. Around that time, my friend Diana had decided to go plant-based, pretty much over-night, after watching a couple of films about industrial animal farming. Talking with Diana was the first time I had thought about where my food came from, and its effect on the environment. I could see how important plant-based eating was to her, how much healthier it was, and its positive impact on the world. Plus, Diana looked really healthy and great. I decided to give it a try.

Was the change difficult? How long did it take?

My change was slower than Diana’s. Soon after I’d decided to give up meat, I was grilling steak for my four kids, and veggies for my husband and myself, and I tasted the steak for the kids. And I said to myself, “Oops!” I’d forgotten I’d decided not to eat steak anymore. That was the last time I ate meat. (It was delicious). After that, it took about six more months to kick eggs, cheese, and my favorite food, spicy tuna maki.

Still, I am not 100% plant-based. When my husband and I travel, sometimes we hike in places where it is impossible to find plant-based food. If I’m in a remote village, and I’ve been hiking all day, I won’t eat meat, but I will eat a cheese sandwich.

Did you learn anything new from The Greener Plate Challenge?

Yes – a few really great Instagram cooks. I loved the “chocolate cake lady” (Sadia, from Pick Up Limes). I’m a baker, and she taught me why some cakes come out fluffier than others. I appreciated that she talked about the science of baking while she was making the cake.

I also loved seeing how the chicken farmer converted his chicken farm into a mushroom farm. He was doing something for himself, he was no longer beholden to a big industrial farming corporation, and he was making the world better.

What did your Team members have to say about The Challenge?

  • I’m an omnivore, and wanted to take it to the next level, to learn how to replace animal proteins with plant-based proteins.

  • Darn. I knew about the environmental impact of beef, but really I didn’t want to think about cheese. I learned I can still do more. But I do not want to give up cheese!

  • What the heck is nutritional yeast?

  • I was motivated to watch a few really good movies on food waste. Wasted! The Story of Food Waste. And the CBS News report on Eating Trash was really worth watching.

Finally, did you make any of the Challenge recipes?

Easiest Crab Cakes, which I LOVED. (I added dill in place of the nori).

Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese. My husband made it. Eating that Mac & Cheese, I felt like I’d died and gone to Comfort Heaven. I could not stop eating it.

Where is your Team donating their $500 prize?

The National Sierra Club Foundation! It’s an NGO that works tirelessly to protect wildlife and wild places, to ensure clean air and clean water for all, and to fight the devastating effect of climate change


vegan strawberry cheesecake with fresh strawberry slicesAs a special bonus, Dinny shared one of her favorite plant-based recipe discoveries, a fluffy Vegan Strawberry Cream Cake by Bianca Zapatka. Satisfy your sweet-tooth with this environmentally guilt-free dessert.


Did you miss the Challenge? You’ll have another chance! Learn more about it, and add your name to the Greener Plate Challenge waitlist, to make sure you know when we do it again. (No need to sign up if you’re already a Good News Veg subscriber).